Protesters at Case Western claim assault after they were painted over by workers hired to clean up Gaza camp graffiti

May 8, 2024 | Political News

A recent incident at Case Western Reserve University has sparked controversy, and some laughs, after a contractor hired by the university to remove vandalism on campus walls was filmed painting over anti-Israel protesters who were standing in his way.

Video footage posted on social media captured the contractors painting over the walls while protesters, wearing face masks, stood in front of them. One video stated in a caption, “students were assaulted by contractors at CRWU.” The scene has led to mixed reactions, with some finding humor in the situation, while others expressing outrage.

University President Eric Kaler responded to the incident on Wednesday, stating that he was “disturbed” by what occurred.

“I have reviewed video footage, which depicts students blocking the wall as a third-party contractor spray painted directly onto protesters as he attempted to finish painting the wall, and I am disturbed by what occurred,” Kaler said in a statement.

“Let me be clear: No students — or any individuals — should ever be treated this way, especially on a campus where our core values center on providing a safe, welcoming environment. This is not who we are as an institution, and I am deeply sorry this ever occurred,” he continued.

Kaler also stated that the university will “continue to fully investigate” the incident.

“Again, I want to reiterate my sincere regret for this incident. As with any violation of our codes of conduct, we will take action to hold them accountable.”

The incident unfolded after protesters had painted an “advocacy wall” near Eldred Hall, which was found to contain threatening and anti-Semitic language. A second wall with similarly intimidating language was also discovered. The university then hired contractors to paint over the wall.

One student involved in the video, Ameer Alkayali, said that he plans to take legal action against the university, accusing the paint contractors of assault.

“I stood against the wall, and the painters asked ‘Should we continue?’ The cops showed general confusion and didn’t tell them to stop,” he told Cleveland.com. “So, as seen in the video, they continue to just paint right over us.”

Students at Case Western Reserve University have also established a Gaza encampment on campus, similar to actions by various protesters at colleges across the country.